" Sexual differentiation in teleost fishes is characteristically labile. The most dramatic form of sexual lability is postmaturational sex change, which is common among teleosts although rare or absent in other vertebrate taxa. In many cases this process is regulated by social cues, particularly dominance interactions. Here we show that in the Midas cichlid, Cichlasoma citrinellum, these same sorts of social interactions affect much earlier stages of sexual differentiation. In this species, males are larger than females. By manipulating relative size in juveniles, we show that this sex-based size difference does not arise from endogenous factors associated with sex. Rather, sex is determined by relative size as a juvenile. We argue that this mode of sex determination, which may be common among teleosts, is a heterochronic variant of postmaturational sex change, one in which some individuals are deflected from a default female trajectory before maturation, as a result of social signals. The size-advantage model, which specifies the optimal size for sex change in hermaphroditic species, can be extended to account for the decision whether to mature as a male or a female in the Midas cichlid "
Classification: Physiology and diseases, Central and North America.
Reference in bibliography for species (1)
- Amphilophus citrinellus referred to as Cichlasoma citrinellum.
Francis, Richard C & G.W. Barlow. 1993. "Social control of primary sex differentiation in the Midas cichlid". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. v. 22, (n. 90), pp. 10673-10675. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.90.22.10673 (crc09318) (abstract)